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Start potty training your puppy


   6-week-old white German Shepherd puppy

People often ask about the best way to start potty training their puppy. The best way to start is to only allow your puppy to eat when you have time to take them outside. This doesn’t mean starving your little pooch. It simply means you feed him or her two or three times a day when you are home and can watch for the signs of needing to eliminate. The signs to watch for are pacing, whining, or a lot of sniffing the ground. When you feed your puppy you can expect it to need to eliminate within 10 – 20 minutes. So start a routine and stick to it. A growing puppy should be fed more than once a day, so plan his/her feeding schedule around yours. Feed your pup as soon as you get up in the morning after you take him or her outside first. Get yourself ready for the day and then take your puppy out to do their business. Remember to praise him or her with lots of excitement in your voice for going potty outside.

Have a special place in your home for the puppy to stay during the day where he or she can feel safe and comfortable. Make certain this is a place where if accidents happen you won’t be too upset. Do not confine your puppy to a dog crate all day long. If you use a crate put it in a room where you can leave the door open so the puppy can sleep in the crate, but still get out and stretch their legs. Crates are good for short periods of time but a dog should not be left in them all day long.

Do not leave food out for your puppy to “nibble” on all day; this will increase chances for accidents during the day. If you work outside of the home, make certain to take them out as soon as you return from being gone. Your puppy will be excited to see you and may have an accident if you do not take it out immediately. After taking your puppy out, be sure to offer food as he or she will be hungry. Do not feed your puppy at least 1-2 hours prior to going to bed; unless you like being awakened in the middle of the night. It is best to remove their water an hour before going to bed as well. Don’t forget to take them out one last time before you turn in for the night.

Be prepared; if you get your puppy during winter months, you may have to start with paper training first. You can not to take a 6-8 week old puppy out and set him or her in a pile of snow and expect results from a shivering puppy.

The secret to happy housebreaking is to be consistent in your puppy’s routine. This is a very important time in a growing puppy’s life and they need to know you are the leader of the pack. Show them a stable routine and you will have a much simpler time with housetraining.


  • Carrie Beth 5 years ago

    My sister is helping train her boyfriend's new puppy. I can't wait to share this with her. Hopefully they will be more successful with this approach.